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December has been a very busy month over at Night Shift. Every so often, the good folks there go on a streak where they start dropping a whole lot of new beers on us, and this month has been one of those times.   One week to the day after the latest batch of Bean Porter became available, the much anticipated Mainer Weiss was released in the taproom, followed the next day by the sixth Barrel Society release, and by Fallen Apple the day after that. In case those three weren’t enough, they put out an IPA the following Tuesday for good measure. That’s a whole lot to get in around the holidays, so let’s get drinking!

Beer Name: Mainer Weiss

Brewer: Night Shift Brewing

Style: Berliner Weiss

ABV: 5.6%

Description: Berliner Weiss aged with wild Maine blueberries and cinnamon sticks

Pour Info: 8 oz. pour from the tap into a flute glass.

Price: $5 for an 8 ounce pour.

Appearance: Purplish with some bubbly white lacing across the top sides.

Smell: Blueberries dominate with sweet, tart, and funky aromas.

Taste: Follows the smell. Again, all those blueberries come out quite nicely. The beer starts out tart up front and sweetens a bit in the middle and finish. You get the berries throughout, but they really come through at the end.

Mouth Feel: Slightly medium bodied with a little bit of fizz and thick finish.

Hype Factor: Fairly high. The Weiss series played a big role in the development of Night Shift’s reputation, so I was definitely eager to check this one out.

Overall: This might be my favorite of the Weiss series. Lots of complimentary sweet/tart flavors going on and the blueberries really give it a unique finish.

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Beer Name: Fallen Apple

Brewer: Night Shift Brewing

Style: Golden Ale

ABV: 8.2%

Description: Brewed with local apple cider and holiday spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, and allspice). Aged in rum barrels.

Pour Info: Poured from tap into a 12 ounce tulip glass.

Price: $8 for 12 ounces.

Appearance: Pours a golden brown apple juice like color. Thick yet fizzy white head.

Smell: Faint whiff of apple cider upfront. Followed quickly by those holiday spices and finishes with a hint of rum.

Taste: The spice taste dominates the beer from the start- perhaps too much spice. Tastes of rum and a little bit of cider to follow and then it transitions to a slightly boozy vanilla finish. These all blend together a bit more as the beer warms with the spices mellowing somewhat into a vanilla and rum ending.

Mouth Feel: The head is pleasantly fizzy. The body was medium/thin with some bubbly carbonation on the finish.

Hype Factor: Fairly high. This was a beer I had just missed out on last year and it sounded interesting.

Overall: This wasn’t the beer for me. I typically don’t enjoy holiday spice bombs and this was no exception. For my tastes it was overly spiced and maybe a bit too much heat on the end for what it was. There were people there that seemed to be really into it though, so to each their own. I personally would pass on having this again.

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Beer Name: Big Dipper

Brewer: Night Shift Brewing

Style: Wine Style Rye Beer

ABV: 11.9%

Description: The penultimate beer in the 2014 Barrel Society lineup. Label calls it a rye wine-style ale aged in Nicaraguan rum barrels.

Pour Info: Poured from the tap into a flute glass.

Price: $5 for an 8 ounce pour.

Appearance: Light brown/reddish caramel coloring. The tiniest bit of lacing on the rims but really no head to speak of.

Smell: Sweet, perhaps malty with a good amount of dark fruit.

Taste: Start to middle has a lot of sweet malts, maple syrup, and brown sugar tastes. Rum comes through on the finish as does a rye taste that combines with just a touch of bitterness. As the beer warms the sweetness diminishes just a bit as the rum and rye are drawn out a bit more.

Mouth Feel: Thick with very little in the way of carbonation.

Hype Factor: High. Night Shift has put out some awesome beers for their society members this year and this one sounded too good to miss.

Overall: Wow, this beer is a sipper for sure but damn is it good. The sweetness really works in this beer and rather than being too cloying or overpowering it complements the other tastes quite well. It packs a bit of a punch, but I hope to get some more of this before it runs out. Awesome brew.

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Beer Name: The 87

Brewer: Night Shift Brewing

Style: IPA

ABV: 5.5%

Description: IPA with big citrus flavors and resiny, piney finish.

Pour Info: Tapped earlier that day and poured into a sampling snifter.

Price: $2.50 for 4 oz. OK, I’ll admit that this was all I was up for following the Big Dipper.

Appearance: Light and golden.

Smell: Light smell of grapefruit and piney hops.

Taste: Grapefruit and mild citrus upfront. Piney bitterness on the finish. Pretty juicy. A somewhat familiar profile to other Night Shift IPAs.

Mouth Feel: Medium bodied and medium carbonation.

Hype Factor: Moderate. We already covered my thoughts on Night Shift’s IPAs in my review of Monroe last week; however, I’m always going to try them.

Overall: Not a bad beer but very typical of previous IPAs released by Night Shift. Would happily drink it to round out a flight or if I needed to bring a growler somewhere but overall it’s pretty much a par for the course IPA.

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And that is all for now. There’s one last 2014 Barrel Society beer to look forward to as December winds down, so until then, cheers and happy holiday wishes!

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